I may only be partially biased on this one because if you read up on why businesses fail there's usually a link to marketing, or lack of marketing. There's also a link between failure and the misuse of spending on marketing. Then there's the misguided attempts at marketing which turn into costly mistakes, and even lack of market research; everything from location of the business to demand for the product or service.
Some business owners think they can't afford marketing and others think they don't need it because they are not looking to take on more clients or customers. What these businesses fail to realize is, marketing doesn't have to be expensive and it's not always directed at gaining new customers. There are tactics which need to be executed in order to retain the current ones. This article breaks down “what” and “why” to help you better understand why marketing is essential for small businesses.
What: Direct/Database Marketing: This includes snail mail, e-mail and blogs sent directly from you to your customers.
Why: Throughout the year you need regular and consistent communication with both your existing and potential customers. This will help keep your brand top of mind. In addition to being a friendly reminder about your business, this tactic can be used to inform you customers of any new products or services which might enhance or add value to the experience they have with your brand. It can be used as a way to induce trial, up-sell, to keep your audience informed and to help them feel like an inclusive part of your community. Your customers will appreciate your free blogs and e-newsletters for the added knowledge and value they provide. Finally, keeping an updated database of your current customers is essential because your direct marketing is only effective with an accurate and complete database.
What: Social Media Marketing
Why: It's free. As if that's not reason enough, the reach you get for free doesn't even come close to comparing with any other tactic. Social media can also be used to keep your audience informed about what is new and exciting with your business. It's a great place for current and new customers to get to know you, to see that you are an expert at what you do, and that you care about creating a community and interacting with them. Depending on your industry, your competitor is likely using social media. You might not want to hear it, but it's time to jump on the band wagon. Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms aren't going anywhere any time soon.
What: Promotional Marketing
Why: It's important you run promotions to your existing customers as a way to keep them loyal and thank them for coming back. In addition, promotions give you an edge and help you win business over your competitors. There are many strategic and cost effective promotions your marketing consultant can create for you.
Why: Advertising can be expensive, especially if it's not well planned, is poorly executed, or if it lacks proper follow up. Advertising increases awareness; how else will people know you exist? Advertising can be tied to a promotion to help encourage product/service trial, increase customers or reward loyal customers. Advertising can be highly targeted and/or is a great way to reach the masses.
What: Event Marketing/Community Involvement
Why: There's a upward trend in consumers supporting local causes. For many consumers, it is something they value. Show them you have similar values. Be seen and heard throughout the community. By getting involved, you will be appreciated and acknowledged by your existing and potential customers.
What: Business to Business Marketing
Why: Strategic partnerships can be a game changer for small businesses. Partnering with like-minded businesses allows you to reach new customers, add value to your current customers, cross-promote and share the cost of advertising and events.
Contact Jill at Vira Creative for help planning, integrating and executing any of these marketing tactics. We specialize in creative, consistent, effective and cost conscious marketing. www.viracreative.com.